January 31 – February 1, 2014
Today’s our last full day in Barichara. We’ve really enjoyed our three days in the town. Yesterday we spent the morning hiking down the mountain on the Camino Real to the village of Guane. The Camino Real is a walking road paved with large stones that extends the 10 kilometers (6 miles) between Barichara and Guane. It was built 150 years ago and has been maintained since. It took over two hours to walk the path with picture taking and talking with the one other walker we encountered on the way. The path crosses the paved road a couple of times, but it’s mostly weaving through small farms which appear to be mostly unused. The countryside is quite dry here. The creeks are dry. And for it being right at the end of the rainy season the fields are barely greening up. It was nice to see and hear birds, encounter fluttering butterflies, and observe the many flowering trees overarching parts of the path. It was pretty darn pastoral. Deni really liked the hike because, in addition to being a beautiful walk, there was good lunch at the end of the path and we took a bus back up the hill to Barichara. Guane is a sleepy village with a central square and a church built in 1720. Walking in any direction from the plaza we could only walk 2 or 3 blocks before encountering the edge of the village. The kids go to school in Barichara. They returned on their bus in the early afternoon. Late afternoon turns out to be a great time to sit in the Barichara plaza and people watch and read in the courtyard of the guest house. Life is pretty slow and relaxed here.
Today we explored the rest of the Barichara. We’ve topped up our need to look at churches. We did find the old folks home, which is attached to the newest church in town (est 1831). On the edge of town we found a little amphitheater and viewpoint that looks out over the deep valley below. Barichara is on the top of a large ridge. I still haven’t figured out where they get water. The town cemetery is also near the edge of the ridge. It’s attached to another of the churches in town. That one appears to be used only for funerals. There was dust on the wooden benches. And there really are too many churches for a small town like this.
We did find a great place to have our noon main meal. (We’ve learned that lesson well.) The trout was quite tasty accompanied by a salad and corn fritter arepas. The fresh unsugared lulo juice was our first encounter with the Colombian fruit, which is similar to passion fruit. There are five indigenous fruits that are quite popular but unknown elsewhere.
We’re glad we extended our stay in this quiet colonial town. Early tomorrow morning we go back to San Gil, then we have a 12 hour bus ride to Medellin.
Bob and Deni